Sunday, October 31, 2010

Operation Gratitude!

Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer-based corporation, funded entirely by private donations. For safety and security, the assembling of all packages occurs at the Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, California.

Tens of thousands of American Service Members are deployed in hostile and remote regions of the world, including the Middle East, Afghanistan, and on ships throughout international waters. The physical conditions they must endure are difficult and they may be separated from loved ones for long periods of time.

Operation Gratitude seeks to lift morale and put smiles on faces by sending care packages addressed to individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed in harm's way.
Through Collection Drives, Letter Writing Campaigns and Donations of funds for shipping expenses, Operation Gratitude provides civilians anywhere in America a way to express their respect and appreciation to the men and women of the U.S. Military in an active, hands-on manner.

This Halloween, the Alluem Kids are donating their candy to the men and women overseas. You can, too!
Drop off your Halloween Candy at the studio between now and November 10th
Be grateful for what you have. Give when you can.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.

-The Girl Scout Law

Yoga is much like this. You do your best each and every time you come to your mat. Be honest with yourself, know what your body can handle. Be considerate and caring to yourself - push only as far as you can go. Respect your practice and the practice of those around you. Little by little, this attitude will help make the world a better place.

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Since 1912, they've touched the lives of more then 3.3 million scouts, and that number continues to grow as the Girl Scout organization continues to inspire and empower girls across the US. This past weekend at Alluem Yoga we had our first scout troop come for a yoga class where they would continue on their path of growth by learning to move, breathe, and listen to their hearts. Discovering that Yoga means to "yolk" or come together, much like their own troop does, we moved through partner and group poses in support of each other. They sat through breathing exercises in order to truly listen to the needs of their own bodies. And of course, there was games, laughter, and fun!

If your troop would like to attend a private session at Alluem Yoga for an hour of yoga and fun, contact the studio at 908-276-YOGA (9642) or email:
Pick a date most convenient for your troop and if you would like to work on a topic to fulfill the requirements for a certain badge - such as the:
- "Stress Less" Badge - teaching girls ways they can relax using breath, calming music, and being in the moment.
- "Highway to Health" Badge - teaching girls to listen to their bodies and what it's trying to tell them, which is one of the most important part of yoga.
- "A Healthier You" Badge - teaching girls to develop good habits for a fun and healthy life through moving and playing.
- "Fun and Fit" Badge - teaching girls to sleep better, study better, have more energy, and just feel great!
So many options with a yoga practice - we can cater the class to your needs!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Identical Flags

This session at Alluem Kids, we've been talking a lot about peace. Peace in our heart, peace in our home, peace in our schools, peace in our communities. For last week's class, I wanted the kids to think bigger. Children are constantly exposed to what is going on in the world - through the TV, newspapers, computers. I started to wonder how often kids get the chance to reflect and talk about all that they see. Often kids are brushed off while adults may think, they're kids - they won't understand. But they do. They hear it in the background as adults watch the news. They see it in the paper laying on their doorsteps. They get it. And if it's not discussed, it could possibly bring up anxieties that may not be necessary if only they were discussed. I know some parents discuss current events and I know there are schools that allow time for discussion, but just in case they don't get the chance, I wanted to give them that chance.
During our meditation time, I asked the class to think about the world as they know it. I asked them to think about the good parts of society as well as the bad. I asked them to tell me what they see on the news, in the paper or on the computer. War was brought up, poverty, theft. Some kids had stories to share and we discussed. I asked them to then close their eyes and take all of the things we talked about and push them aside, to let them go. I asked them to think about how it would be in the world if we all worked together with one goal in mind - Peace. I had the kids place one hand on their hearts and told them to tune into their heart beats. Then I said to them, "Every human, every person in this world, every child just like you has a heart beat." I had them take a deep breath in and out, and reminded them that, "Every human, every person in this world, every child just like you breathes the same air. We were all created the same in body, breath, and heart. It's how we grow, the decisions we make, and the love and peace we share with one another that makes the difference. Across the world, we are all the same." I asked them to imagine a world where there were no borders between countries and everyone was treated as equals. No you or me. Just us...and we all lived together in peace. The 3 important words: One. World. Peace. As we moved into a silent meditation, I encouraged the children to use a new mudra (or yoga of the hands - forming shapes with the fingers that hold meaning): One - extending the first finger. World - extending the first 3 fingers in the shape of a W. Peace - extending the first 2 fingers in a peace sign. As they sat with their eyes closed the hand over their hearts moved through the mudras - One. World. Peace. over and over.
After the meditation and many group poses where we would need to work together - such as Group Chair, Group Tree, Group Warrior 2, etc. - I posed another question..."If the entire world had only one flag, what would it look like?" The children came up with some awesome designs as seen in the video above! They also rocked out to K'naans "Waving Flags" while they worked. K'naan, who's name means "traveller", wrote this song after being exposed to so much trauma at a young age around his home and as he travelled from place to place. From this place, he has only become a stronger person today, as he sings in his song, "When I get older, I will be stronger. They'll call me freedom just like a waving flag."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Great Fall Reads

Fall is upon us! Leaves are starting to change! The air is getting crisp! I love this time of year!
We've been talking a lot about the changing of the seasons and how trees are preparing to let their leaves go even though they are at their most beautiful point. We know that sometimes we have to let things go even if they are special to us, even if they have been with us all year long, even if they look so good on our branches. It's all about letting go, moving on, and staying in the present moment. We must learn to embrace that!
I've listed below some great books to bring to your children for the Fall:

Let it Fall by Maryann Cocca-Leffler - Celebrate all things Autumn! Great book for talking about all the great things that happen in the Fall - practice jumping into leaves from Chair Pose, standing tall in Tree Pose to get ready for picking apples!

Autumn Walk by Ann Burg - Visualize all the vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows that Fall brings to us as you take a mindful walk through the leaves. Practice a Kinhin meditation being ever so present while you walk.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scarecrow Pose

Scarey Crow Poser
Moha Shanti Hay
Samadhi Strawdude
These were just some of the names submitted by our students here at Alluem in search of a name for our studio's Scarecrow for Cranford's Scarecrow Competition. So funny! Final decision was just to go with "Peace, Love, & Yoga".
He came together today with the help of one of our amazingly talented students, Suzy. So creative! I mean, look at the hand stitched face! And if you could see the toes...just like the foot of a Cabage Patch Kid - love it!!!
You can find our Scarecrow on Walnut Ave. in Cranford in front of Cafe Paris. Ommmmm. :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Halloween For Hunger

October means Halloween time! Encourage your kids to do something different this Halloween...instead of Trick or Treating for candy, collect non-perishable foods for your local Food Banks and Homeless Shelters. Encourage your kids to "Be the Change" and make a difference whenever they can however they can.